Wednesday, October 26th saw the OCAA hand out the women's soccer awards at the 2017 OCAA Championship banquet hosted by Cambrian College in Sudbury.
Despite being eliminated from the playoffs during the OCAA crossover matches, the Knights were well represented at the banquet as Michelle Maecker (Fonthill) was named West Division Rookie of the year, while Alexis Hebert (Ancaster) was named the west division's defensive player of the year.
Maecker enjoyed a dominant rookie season for the Knights. The E.L. Crossley graduate notched six goals in 10 games, the second most in a season by a Niagara College women's soccer player.
"Michelle began scoring in game one this season" said Niagara Knights head coach Rob Lalama. "She showed improvement in each match. We put her at striker out of necessity but I think she's a natural winger. She has a great attitude and was a big factor for us this season."
Hebert simply put, was outstanding for Niagara in 2017. The Waterdown product recorded five shut outs, posting a .938 save percentage, turning aside 58 shots on goal and conceding just four goals against. Hebert joins Natalie Semenuk (2015-16) as Niagara Knights who have earned the defensive player of the year accolade.
"Alexis has been outstanding this year. Once healthy she really showed what a quality keep she is" continued Lalama. "She is one of the most athletic keepers I've see in the OCAA. She could always be counted on to make a big save, and she got better ever game."
Despite falling just short of qualifying for the OCAA Championship, the Knights appeared ready to take the next step as Hebert and Maecker will return with the majority of the 2017 Niagara Knights women's soccer roster next season.
Added Lalama "I could not be happier for both girls. They are both exceptional young women and I am looking forward to seeing their growth moving forward."